Tilda Swinton Says ‘Questionable Decision’ to Email Margaret Cho Over ‘Doctor Strange’ Whitewashing Was ‘Naive, Confusing’

Tilda Swinton

Tilda Swinton revealed she is “very, very grateful” for Kevin Feige commenting on the whitewashing controversy for her character The Ancient One in the 2016 movie “Doctor Strange.”

The details: The 60-year-old Scottish actress reflected on the casting decision to play the controversial role in an interview with Variety.

  • “I remember at the time having a question mark in my own mind, and being attendant to the public response to the idea that a Scottish woman will be playing this character, and being aware that there was no resistance at all — there was widespread welcome — which shifted at a certain point, for very good reasons with which I had an enormous amount of sympathy,” she said.
  • In 2016, Swinton defended playing the role of The Ancient One, stating Feige and director Scott Derrickson “made this very clear decision” to cast her in the role in “what they considered an offensive racial stereotype in the comic books,” according to IndieWire.
  • However, in May, Feige admitted they made a mistake by casting Swinton as The Ancient One.

Even more controversy: Swinton found herself even deeper into the issue when she privately reached out to comedian Margaret Cho to better understand the casting controversy and whitewashing.

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  • Cho had never met Swinton before when the latter contacted her.
  • The comedian, who is of Korean descent, described it as “weird” during a guest appearance on the TigerBelly podcast with fellow Asian American comedian Bobby Lee in December 2016.

 

  • After the guest appearance, Swinton’s camp shared the email exchange she had with the comedian to Jezebel. On the surface, the two seemed to have had a fairly amicable discussion.

Looking back at the email controversy: Swinton told Variety she felt like they’re at “the point now, where I can say it doesn’t matter anymore, and it was all worth it,” adding, “I think it was a hot spot [and] I was aware at the time of being caught in something that [was out of] my actual control. And that felt fine, because it wasn’t my voice that anybody needed to hear.”

  • She said her “questionable decision” to reach out to Cho was “naive and clearly confusing” and added, “I was embarrassed that I had maybe gone up a blind alley in starting the correspondence in the first place — maybe I had confused matters — but beyond that, I have zero regrets.”

Featured Image via Marvel Entertainment (left), Just For Laughs (right)

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